Sneak Peeks

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Sneak Peeks

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There's a natural tension between services that are streamlined for scale and services tailored to the unique needs of members and customers.

No one knows this tension better than Pomi Tefera, Head of Ops & Strategy at Cofertility, a human-first fertility ecosystem and platform that empowers everyone to own their own family-building timeline and journey.

In her role, Pomi lives and breathes the need to deliver on personalization without compromising on the promised benefits of standardization like efficiency, fairness, and quality assurance.

Prior to Cofertility, she was responsible for bringing products to life at Uber, where her and Ken first met. It was her curiosity for tech that transforms how people live and manage their most basic needs in the physical world that led her career from mobility to fertility.

In this episode, you’ll learn:
• The biggest learnings going from an Enterprise org to leading Ops at a startup
• The #1 thing Ops teams overcomplicate
• How to balance personalization and standardization
• Strategies Pomi uses to best enable her member advocates to spend more mental energy on the personal and emotional aspects of their job
• Methods for evaluating the impact on member and user experience
• How to build an “Operations moat”
• How to make your CEO care about operational excellence

Where to find Pomi Tefera:
• LinkedIn:
• Cofertility:

Where to find your host, Ken:
• LinkedIn:
• Twitter/X:
• Change Enablers, a community by Tango:

Like what you heard? Subscribe, leave us a review, and let us know who in Operations and Enablement should be our next guest.

Ken Babcock (00:01.043)

Hey everyone, welcome to the Change Enablers podcast. I am super pumped to have Pomi Tufara here. Pomi was one of my colleagues at Uber, has had an amazing career that I've been able to follow. Actually started her career, the General Electric and their rotational program. Like I said, I met her at Uber. She was working on product ops at the time, moved on to another mobility startup called Token Transit. And has since gone from mobility to fertility, which I love. I actually stole that from Pomi.

Her passion is bringing sort of tech and virtual experiences into the physical world. We're going to talk more about that today. So Pomi, welcome to the podcast.

Pomi Tefera (00:41.27)

Thanks Ken, happy to be here.

Ken Babcock (00:43.919)

And for our regular listeners, they all know that we start with a few just quick sort of icebreaker rapid fire questions. So I'm going to jump into that now. You've, you've spent your whole career in ops in some fashion. And, you know, we knew ops very well at Uber. Can you start by telling us what you think is the most underrated ops function of the many that you have to take?

Pomi Tefera (01:11.934)

Um, the most underrated. So I would, I would summarize it as execution because you can have the sexiest strategy, but at the end of the day, it's about getting it done. And, um, you all will, you're always going to win on execution. Um, and I would say ops early on in your career, you are doing, uh, the work that's like behind the scenes that, um,

when you're doing it right, and this is same with finance, right, when I originally started my career, when you're doing it right, it's invisible because it's working. And at Co-Fertility, we affectionately call it keyboard catting, like that, that GIF. And it's the work that you do in the background that makes you the expert on how things actually work. How are people actually navigating their needs step by step?

And that's what allows you to really own and influence decision making, because you are an expert on the process, the tools, the people. So yeah, I guess execution, keyboard catting, as we affectionately call it at Co-Portility.

Ken Babcock (02:22.079)

Yeah, I hear you on that. It's the blood, sweat and tears of any business. And I remember like at Uber, it was often also this like bed for innovation and how we productize different things because we would do something that was so clunky.

Pomi Tefera (02:38.101)


Ken Babcock (02:38.603)

It's like, we can't possibly be doing it this way any longer. Like, let's turn this into a product. So maybe, maybe the takeaway is that ops in and of itself is underrated. You know, you're behind, you are keyboard catting, but it's so critical. Um, speaking of things that are critical, what are your three favorite software tools right now?

Pomi Tefera (02:49.975)

It fits.

Pomi Tefera (02:59.778)

Ooh, okay. So my three faves. So obviously Tango, Love Tango. Documentation is super important at our company when we interact with so many people that get involved in someone's fertility journey. And our member advocate's role is to be the big sister and the project manager. Take things off of their plate so that they can focus on their fertility journey

and taking an active role on the fertility team. And being able to document processes so our member advocates can spend more time asking why rather than what needs to happen. is why I love Tango and hand in hand with Tango's loom. Always recording looms, whether it's explaining something that's happening in our forecast model or member advocates explaining to each other.

how to do certain steps like that, that async and easy to document, whether it's video or SOPs are super cool. Then recently, for my third tool, we recently adopted a tool called Copper, which is like a CRM that integrates with your inbox. A lot of our journeys that we have with our members are managed over emails, a lot of communication with clinics and stuff.

happens over email. So being able to track all of the interactions, whether it's emails, and actually codify the stages of our journey through that tool with that native integration with Google Suite has been really cool.

Ken Babcock (04:40.535)

That's super, super awesome. And I would imagine  for your member advocates, having that context is key. Just remembering where did we leave that conversation off? And I think that's what's powerful about Tango and Loom too. We're in this  sort of special age where you have no excuse for not giving someone the context that they need to do their job effectively. We use Loom a ton internally as well.

Pomi Tefera (05:04.174)


Ken Babcock (05:07.675)

So I want to shift a little bit and talk about, you know, your career. Uh, you went from General Electric to Uber, big name brands, uh, to startups, token transit, and now, you know, a smaller startup and co-fertility. Operations is probably the common theme for three of those four. What would you say are the biggest challenges in those transitions and the biggest differences in ops across the roles and companies that you've had?

Pomi Tefera (05:37.918)

Yeah, that I think the biggest thing for me and it's something that always bubbled up in my feed the feedback I received when I went into the startup stage which is done is better than perfect. I'm a framework girl. I love I have a framework for everything. I love reading like medium vlogs from like different people in the space and I love building the dope model and

and just like kind of losing myself in like building something. But which is great when you're kind of like the analyst on this specific team, this specific vertical of a business. But coming back to this theme of like execution, when you're at a startup, there's a world of opportunity and your job is prioritization at every single minute of a day. And you have to like you're put in the position of.

Ken Babcock (06:17.939)


Pomi Tefera (06:36.238)

all right, you have a great idea, what would have to be true for this to scale? And doing just the minimum to validate that is like, I have to force myself, pull myself back to like just ask myself that question. And someone at Uber, Jeb, who was on the tech strategy team, he like...

Ken Babcock (07:00.447)

Oh yeah.

Pomi Tefera (07:03.37)

like radically shifted something inside me at Uber that helped me with this transition to startup life, which when we were like pitching to like the tech leadership or, you know, ops leadership for running company planning, which is a really dynamic kind of prioritization exercise with a lot of people, is ahead of these big conversations with a lot of people, he would challenge me to add like lead with

what is the decision that needs to be made in this conversation? And what is the information that you anticipate the leaders needing to feel confidently make that decision? And asking that to myself upfront before I prepared that, you know, that big deck and letting that guide how I, you know, even structure the information, that conversation really shifted to something inside me of how to approach decision making.

and he would go step further and try to guess what is the decision that they're going to make. And I think like, I mean that I saw that made him such a capable and like a capable leader who had strong intuition because he's learning from all these different people by anticipating what they would do and then learning from what they actually ended up doing. So I definitely pulled.

from that question from Jeb, even made pages like, you know, as the agenda for the DAP, like what is the decisions we're trying to make here to guide those conversations? I pull that like to almost all the conversations I have in the startup land as well.

Ken Babcock (08:41.595)

Well, and I feel like every conversation is that when you're in a startup, it's like, we have to make a decision. And I love, I mean, Jeb is probably one of the most effective people that, that I worked with at Uber too. And you know, I love that framing because it also gives you kind of like a success criteria for the meeting. I mean, so many of us go into meetings and we're like, well, I think it was good. Like we had a, we had a decent conversation, but like knowing the outcome and knowing the decision you have to make is.

Pomi Tefera (08:45.471)


Pomi Tefera (09:00.021)


Ken Babcock (09:10.843)

is really, really powerful. And I think there's a beauty in like almost the simplicity of that. And so my next question for you is like, across all these roles and experiences you've had, what do you find is like the top thing that ops teams overcomplicate? Where they lose sight of, you know, the beauty of simplicity.

Pomi Tefera (09:35.662)

That's a really good question.

Pomi Tefera (09:42.096)

I think there is a...

Pomi Tefera (09:50.55)

The, I think like the ops tends to over complicate things and coming from like boiling the ocean. So the two things, so like, actually you said one thing, hold on, let me pause. What is the number one thing that they over complicate? I would say it's like reporting debt. So you have like one problem at,

Ken Babcock (10:05.768)

Yeah, sure.

Pomi Tefera (10:20.586)

month zero of launching and you come up with a bunch of data around your funnel and things that you've decided to quantify in that hunger for data, you start reporting it. And then you're in month three, five, year four, and you're still reporting that information and then it becomes this like your eyes glaze over every time you're in a weekly meeting talking about these data points. And in an effort to be really informed, you're actually losing focus.

So I would, you know, kind of challenge, especially companies that are in teams that are growing really quickly to be like, well, do we actually need this right now? Do we need to continue having supporting this process and looking at this specific data or do we benefit from zeroing in on the thing that's at hand right now? It overcomplicates things because it's like you're spending X amount of time every week running this report, looking at this data. And it's like...

What are we doing here? Why are we doing this again? Maybe I would say that.

Ken Babcock (11:22.805)


Yeah. And not to mention you already hinted at prioritization. You're looking at so many metrics. It's hard to, it's hard to understand what the priority is, you know, cause, cause it's like, well, all right, we've got to manage towards all of these.

There's so much more power in saying, here are top three priorities, here are the three metrics we're gonna move, we're not gonna care about anything else until it's become a priority. Whereas like, you look at this dashboard and you're like, oh my gosh, I have to make everything green. That's pretty hard. So.

Pomi Tefera (11:49.769)


Pomi Tefera (11:53.217)

with you.

Pomi Tefera (11:56.714)

Yeah, and I would say this is something that big companies, it's easy to like mess up because prioritization, You can't prioritize unless you're actively saying no to something. So just because you say these are our top three things, that's not it, that's not prioritization. Prioritization actively saying, we're taking this off the list so that we can all focus on this thing. And I think with big companies, there's this  desire to  do all the things and  you know, empire build in some ways.

And you don't get a hard no on focus for a period of time in the way that startups, because we're resource constrained, have to do. So that was one thing that was refreshing for me to have to practice coming from a big company to a startup.

Ken Babcock (12:44.559)

Yeah, startups are so greenfield. There's opportunities everywhere. We try to remind the team as well, like every new thing we say we're going to do. There is a cost and we have to figure out like what the trade off is going to be. So I totally hear you there.

Pomi Tefera (12:47.854)


Ken Babcock (13:00.327)

You know, I didn't give you a chance to talk a little bit more about co-fertility because it's really interesting what you're doing and I'd love for you to tell the audience, you know, what is co-fertility and as a startup, what's the big thing that you're trying to solve or differentiate on?

Pomi Tefera (13:17.046)

Yeah, so co-fertility, we are reshaping fertility preservation and third-party reproduction. So it's more accessible and human and community driven. So on the one hand, we are helping people freeze their eggs. They can do it through our Keep program, where we're supporting them, they're going through their own egg freezing journey and giving them community and discounts. Or they can also do our Split program, where you can freeze your eggs for

free if you donate half of them to a family who can't otherwise conceive. And then on the other side, we're helping intended parents find their donor match. And some of the key things here are we're taking cash compensation out of it, and there's a lot of...

Let me start here. There's a lot of stigma on egg donation and that's largely rooted in cash compensation model So there's like a Harvard study of donor conceived people showing that like 62% of donor conceived adults think that exchange of money for their For you know their eggs is wrong and their 40% of them were disturbed by the fact that money was exchanged for their own Conception so that stigma discourages

people from helping a family grow and that might be something they might want to explore, right? We work with a lot of people who are like, wow, like helping the LGBTQ community or family who's been trying to conceive for a decade conceive would be like a really amazing gift. And then being able to preserve my own fertility while doing that is like perfect. It's like mutually beneficial. And so we're helping them do that and we're humanizing the journey along the way.

Like we take a strong stance that anonymous donation is a thing of the past. It's something that donor conceived people really advocate for parents being open about their origins, if it's important for identity formation. Also in this era of like being able, anyone with a credit card being able to order 23andMe test and like social media, it's really makes me side eye that like anonymous donation is even like referenced or used in the space anymore.

Pomi Tefera (15:35.99)

So we help people kind of navigate, what's the world pragmatically outside of that, right? So we have disclosed and undisclosed donations instead.

Ken Babcock (15:45.915)

That's amazing. What like such an incredible mission that you're all on. And, you know, when we talked about co-fertility, just in prepping for the episode, you know, one thing that struck me is, is how personalized it is and how, you know, the member advocates that are on your team develop these relationships, um, with people that come to you for, you know, for these fertility solutions.

And, you know, I have to ask you, is there a, is there almost a natural tension of being a startup and, and trying to scale, but also preserving this ability to meet the unique needs of your members, of your customers? How do you balance those?

Pomi Tefera (16:26.998)

Yeah, that's super important. This is a deeply personal journey, fertility and trying to conceive. And like on an intended parent side, for example, the needs of a hopeful dad, a gay dad, say he knows from the beginning, I'm going to need something to get involved to either adoption or an egg donor, right? He has a very different need from a couple that's experienced in fertility for a decade, right?

And they've been in and out of so many clinics, right? So you can't you can't support them on a journey if you're doing like a cookie-cutter approach at all and Meanwhile standardization We have to deliver on that personalization without compromising on the key benefits of standardization, right? efficiency quality assurance fairness so we

And of course, ultimately offering a streamlined experience. So how we navigate that tension, it's pretty dynamic, right? So one is we just have a treasure trove of educational content. And we, you know, whether it's learned articles that we're churning out, our chairwoman writes so many learned articles.

that teaching people, informing them, so that they can make informed decisions on their own journeys. And so identifying the specific things that people need contextualized in their journey at one time. The CRM and using a CRM and defining key milestones that are dependencies, right? There is a linear process in egg freezing and egg donation, right? You apply, you provide personal and family medical history.

clinical team approves it, you then do the actual medical screening and you can only do legal once you've done medical screening. So there is a structured linear process in that sense and we've defined that journey internally to mirror it. And then how we interact, the education that we provide, the compassion and the guidance right that we provide, that's where personalization really comes in.

Ken Babcock (18:46.523)

Yeah, totally. And I feel like those member advocates, you know, they have to sort of like preserve some of their capacity to be able to do that, to be able to connect emotionally, um, to tailor the experience. So can you talk a little bit about your enablement efforts such that you're equipping those member advocates?

Pomi Tefera (18:54.478)

Thank you.

Ken Babcock (19:06.887)

with the necessary amount of standardization and preserving some of that dynamic time to be able to build those relationships. What are you doing sort of tactically to enable them?

Pomi Tefera (19:17.898)

Hmm, yeah. So, tactically, so data, so one of our company values is data is queen. And so data is the heart of the decision making process. So you do that to track and analyze behavior and movement and through the journey, right? We use a tool called Metabase, which I fell in love with at my previous startup, that it allows

anyone. You don't have to know SQL. You know this. At Uber, all the ops teams basically became data scientists because you're in SQL writing these like mega queries, but I'm hiring people who are like case managers and work as social workers or have worked in clinics, and I don't want there to be a SQL learning hurdle to enable them to ask questions of our data. So Metabase is kind of like

Ken Babcock (19:54.859)

Thanks for watching!

Pomi Tefera (20:16.11)

Mad Libs TurboTax version of Sequel where it's like naturally having you join tables to ask questions. And ultimately the questions that we're asking are what is blocking our highest intent members from moving forward? Because that friction, of course, blocks low intent. And low intent isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just means that intent is defined as I'm ready to do this thing.

and I care a lot about doing it. So that's where education comes in so that they can, they feel like, you know, they're ready to take the next step in their journey. So understanding what's blocking high intent people from moving forward in their journeys, and, you know, being able to analyze the data and saying things like, what is this success group doing that this other group is not, and kind of vice versa.

to understand patterns in a very human journey. You have to observe human behavior, which is a lot of quantitative, but then, sorry, it's a lot of quantitative, like I mentioned, but of course, there's always, we have to pair it with the human why. So looking at that data, segmenting people, and using Metabase to put it in the hands of my team, but then encouraging them to...

the human story when we're talking to our team and make somebody come off paper. No one is a number at in our internally right we're telling the human story all the time.

Ken Babcock (21:53.895)

Yeah, that's, I love how you bring that sort of together, that quantitative and qualitative piece, because, you know, a lot of times one is going to help explain the other when you're bringing on member advocates, you know, to make sure that they have the knowledge that they need at their fingertips, you know, what, what practices have you sort of instilled with the team? Um, how do you make sure that sort of knowledge and documentation is accessible to everybody? Are you doing that?

Pomi Tefera (22:04.011)


Pomi Tefera (22:24.11)

So, great question. So, sorry, do you hear that audio? Somebody just came in my house. I'm gonna pause. Babe? Sorry, I'm recording a podcast. Okay, sorry. So.

Ken Babcock (22:41.087)

Best if you're not so welcome, you know, if you need to.

Pomi Tefera (22:45.022)

No, we're good. I just didn't want the audio to interrupt what I'm saying. So you're the question remind me the question is, what am I doing for member applicants when onboarding?

Ken Babcock (22:54.049)

Yeah. So, you know, when you're, when you're bringing on member advocates, um, what are you doing from an onboarding perspective, uh, enablement perspective to make sure that they have the right sort of knowledge at their fingertips? Um, this is obviously sort of like a tango-esque question. So respond however you see fit. But, um, I think this, this one will matter to the audience.

Pomi Tefera (23:05.058)


Pomi Tefera (23:16.726)

Yeah. So when we're onboarding them, this is where documentation is so important, and we can't let things go stale. And so whatever they're reading, no one has time to go completely redo all of the things. So Our SOPs have to be living, breathing documents that people are continually going back to check. So one is like they're having to do

there has to be a living breathing documentation at all times of our processes for existing and new employees. And so we actually, all the things that are like, this is the biblical grade truth live in Notion. So like the Looms and the Tango SOP docs and things like that, that we're recording, we put them in  Notion as our company  command center.

our cultural values, all of the things that are like, this is not going to change and always come back here, start in notion. So when they come, they get this mega doc that they are, that tracks everything and it's framed as a checklist. And it's organized as be a sponge, be a contributor, and then become a leader. And it doesn't matter who they are in the company, become a leader. What I always tell them is leadership is a choice, not a title, right?

especially at a company our size, like being a leader means that you are, own the problem, you fall in love with the problem. You are like optimistic and accountable for the problem. So it's organized in that way. And we're, they're coming back into this document and like checking as they go, the resources that they've read through. And then For my team, I set up an every other morning 

for the first two weeks check-in, where I have them ask me questions about what they've learned, and I specifically always tell them, look, the become a contributor phase is like, you have fresh eyes, like challenge us, tell us, this doesn't make sense anymore. I would approach it this way, This is just as much an opportunity for our team to improve things with your fresh eyes than it is as it is for you to just soak everything up.

Ken Babcock (25:22.143)


Ken Babcock (25:37.383)

Yeah. And I feel like that's where you start building that culture of. We're continually revisiting what we're doing, which is so critical. I actually think we did that exceptionally at Uber where it was like, yeah, we had a lot of outdated documents, but we were always like revisiting the process and trying to improve it. How else are you sort of building that culture within your teams at co-fertility to say.

Pomi Tefera (25:47.896)


Ken Babcock (26:00.707)

Hey, you know what, we might have a view of the world today that's written down in notion, but if we find a better way, or if the world changes, we respond to that. How do you do that?

Pomi Tefera (26:16.026)

you actually froze for a moment of that. So, um, and I don't know if my-

Ken Babcock (26:18.819)

Oh no.

Ken Babcock (26:26.383)

Yeah. Oh, that's so weird. It was like fine on my screen. Um, but we can always restart. Uh, so yeah, so it sounds like you've sort of built this culture of contributing, revisiting, refreshing all of your knowledge. Um,

And, you know, that's really hard. I actually think that was something that we did pretty well at Uber. I mean, we had a lot of outdated documents that people misused, but we were always revisiting that process and saying, is there a better way? Has the world changed? How do you make sure that even as people move out of the onboarding process, that culture persists where you're constantly improving upon the processes that you've set?

Pomi Tefera (27:05.902)


Pomi Tefera (27:12.878)

Yeah, I think like as a manager especially what's really important to me is there has to be safe, a sense of like safety on the team where we are all in love with the problem, whatever the problem is, right? And challenging something or you know.

I think one of, so when we say data is queen as one of our cultural values, it means we are unafraid to be wrong in the face of new data. In fact, I love to think about what is a time that, you know, in the last period that I changed my mind because, you know, that I felt strongly about something that changed my mind and I feel like in life, whether it's work or outside of work, it's so important to have.

the realizations and shift and evolve because you're learning. And so on the team, it's important to feel that safety where it's like, it's not about me, it's not about the incredible effort that I'm putting in, it's about the problem. And we're all in love with it. So yeah, I think that safety and that trust is really important on the team and as a matter of culture. And then also the like, just this practice of

understanding the insights, the human insights, and focusing on them so that we are all kind of oriented around that same thing. And with the member advocates on my team, they're of course accountable to the end-to-end member experience. But everyone at our company is accountable to the member experience. Jessie from BD will have an idea because a question comes up with a clinic and she is like

in their changing agreements. It doesn't matter what is your title or your role on paper. We all have the same shared goal.

Ken Babcock (29:13.276)


Yeah, I love that. It's almost like removing ego from it, removing prior decision-making and just saying, Hey, this isn't about any one person in particular, this is about the problem we're solving. I remember I had a manager who, and you know, it always caught me off guard when, when she would say this, but she would caveat a lot of things with, Hey, I have no pride in this, but like, here's what I think. And I always thought it was kind of weird. She'd say it all the time, but you know, like you said, what she was doing

Pomi Tefera (29:26.167)


Ken Babcock (29:44.225)

was saying, hey, this isn't about me. Like this isn't about my view on it, but here's like react to it. And you got so powerful on teams to have that psychologically safe space where you can question assumptions. You can raise your hand because so many teams don't have that and they lose because of it. I love, I love that you're doing that.

Pomi Tefera (29:49.742)

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Pomi Tefera (30:06.722)


Ken Babcock (30:09.691)

You talked about member experience and everyone falling in love with that problem. How does your team sort of evaluate the impact that you're having on member experience? How are you sort of gathering? You talked a lot about data is clean, but how are you sort of ingesting that feedback and saying, Hey, we're making improvements, we're doing well, or we're not doing so well and here are the areas of opportunity.

Pomi Tefera (30:35.338)

Yeah, so one of the OKRs or things that we always talk about on the team is magical matches. And there's different measures for a magical match. First and foremost is of course the clinical outcome, right? Ultimately they're working with us because they want to preserve their fertility, help another family conceive or conceive themselves with a surrogate.

And so we have to solve for that. Of course, we're not in control of it, but we can change the way we sequence processes and surface information at the right time to optimize for clinical outcome. For example, we rolled out AMH testing. Everyone should get their AMH tested level, their anti-malarion hormone level. It's a measure of your ovarian reserve. So easy to get tested and tells you a lot about your fertility.

So we roll that out upfront for our split members before they match. So clinical outcomes. The second is time. In the process of egg freezing, it takes time. People think, well, sometimes people, I've got text from a girlfriend like, hey, I'm in town for a week. Can I go freeze my eggs? It's like, oh no, honey, we got stuff to do first. So we have to set.

and manage and meet expectations around time. In BD in partnership, they say time kills all deals. That applies to lots of things. And so it's important to really, to establish expectations on what it means, how long it will take to get from match to cycle and measure that and look at the footprint of time as they move through the process and see the differences in different matches and glean insights from there.

So clinical outcomes, time, of course sentiment. Sentiment is more something we have a pulse on. And at bigger companies, you're actually measuring this through NPS scores and stuff like that. For now, I read every single email that is sent with member advocates in CC, and so does our CEO. And we are doing that to have a pulse on things so that when things inevitably bubble up, you have some of that historical context. Because

Pomi Tefera (33:00.614)

especially on a journey as emotional as this one, it's never just about that moment. It's about everything that's happened before it. So sentiment. And then finally, the match, the match itself. I love this part of it. It's so much fun to do that matchmaking, understanding like the fundamentals of what people want out of their donation arrangement. I would love a disclosed donation where contact information is exchanged.

Okay, but what gradient of just like scope and frequency of communication are the scenes that come to mind and making sure that they're aligned on that. Fundamentals like that, but then there's also the human aspect of it too, right? Are they, do we think that they would enjoy having coffee together one day? This is a lifetime connection, either like practically if they're choosing to be that way or just like cosmically. So.

that matchmaking aspect of things and asking the right questions to make sure yes or no are they aligned is the last category of things that I'm looking at for our matches.

Ken Babcock (34:11.207)

Yeah, that's a lot of things. That's a lot of things you have to balance too. And, you know, you actually mentioned, I saw it on LinkedIn. Um, you know, you posted for a role and, uh, one thing I love that you said was. If you're interested in building an operations moat. And that to me is like all those things that you mentioned, relying on data, balancing sort of this tension that there's natural attention of like, we need to standardize, but we also need to personalize you say operations moat.

Pomi Tefera (34:14.967)


Pomi Tefera (34:38.126)


Ken Babcock (34:40.871)

You know, what do you mean exactly by that?

Pomi Tefera (34:45.182)

I mean that in this space, like many others, it's not about the idea. It's not about the intellectual property. Even at Uber, right? Lyft quickly came after, right? And then we were competing and that was great. And in my eyes, it's like a rising tide lifts all ships here, right? We want egg freezing and egg donation to be more accessible to everyone.

For us though, when we talk about building a moat, it's about execution and doing it right and having that peripheral vision on the human why, to be able to, that's backed by data, to be able to deliver on the promise that we're making to our members. They're really trusting us with their incredible journey.

Ken Babcock (35:40.155)

Yeah. And that, that trust, I feel like is so important between your members and your member advocates. And like, we talked about sort of how you build that by making sure that everybody has the standardization to be kind of speaking the same language and delivering a similar experience, but then creating the capacity to have a, have a personalized human relationship. Um,

Pomi Tefera (35:46.092)


Ken Babcock (36:03.399)

with your members. And so I think what you all are doing is super, super powerful. Any other sort of unexpected learnings from your time specifically at co-fertility that, and I'll put this question almost back on you, that changed your mind about ops?

Pomi Tefera (36:27.694)

Hmm, give me a minute, I have to think about this one.

Ken Babcock (36:30.715)

Yeah, I know that's this one I did pull from left field. So.

Pomi Tefera (36:35.179)


Pomi Tefera (36:44.646)

So something that took me by surprise, and directly experiencing my own embryo freezing journey informed this as well, is that this personalization, it really applies in the clinical setting as well. The specific meds that you get, the protocol that you put on, how long you're on those meds, the timeline of your experience.

It's all personalized. And there's of course guidelines out there and you're working with a reproductive endocrinologist who's an expert, but it is subjective, right? And they're looking at so many signals, your biomarkers, like your AMH level that I mentioned before, and so many other things, and tailoring a protocol to you, a plan. And then you go in.

and you start your shots and they're doing these monitoring appointments every other day, almost every day to see how your body is responding to the medication, how your follicles are growing. That night you get a call saying like, tune your doses or tune your meds this much. And so for me,

Pomi Tefera (38:07.306)

not being a medical professional in the past, what I thought this was is like, okay, there's a clear framework, there's specific meds, and you're kind of working through a checklist, and no, it's super personalized. And so, not knowing that and not having the understanding of things that your care team are looking for can, is the...

is the opposite of empowering. So for example, you're sitting in your ultrasound, transvaginal ultrasound, so you have a wand inside you and they're doing something and you could easily just be twiddling your thumbs, just kind of letting the time pass, it's a really quick appointment, and then you find out some information about the scheduling of your retrieval after. But really, to know that, okay, I'm seeing them, they're measuring my follicles, they're measuring to

And when they reach that specific size of like, you know, say 18 millimeters, that's when I can take my trigger shot. And so realizing how deeply personalized and kind of dynamic the treatment is, and understanding what are the key questions we can encourage members to ask their care team when, because we can't be in that room with them, right? So ask, so how are my follicles tracking on average? Like what size are they?

that helps you anticipate, oh, we're not where we need to be at. This thing is going to move, right? And now I got to go tell my team, like, my retrieval is moving, right? And the out of office block that I had. Like, if you don't know that information or the framework for how they're approaching decision making on your body, it just seems like the clinic is kind of slang and dates and not thinking about your life. So I think where I've changed my mind is the learning that this is deeply personalized and you have to be aware of it.

have to have a role on your own fertility team, your own care team in any medical setting. You have to, it's a dialogue. You have to be like, try asking questions and establishing kind of that open communication so you can take an active role.

Ken Babcock (40:21.467)

Yeah. And I think what you said that really struck me is we're so conditioned to try to think of everything as okay, there's a formula. There's a formula for success. There's a formula for scale. There's inputs and outputs and it'll happen in some predictable way. But I think what you're doing with your team and helping your member advocates sort of embrace that.

dynamism, the flexibility that they need to have also helps kind of bring members along for that journey too. So, um, thank you for sharing that. The last question that I'll ask you, um, and this doesn't have to be your CEO per se that we're talking about here, but how do you, how would you make a CEO? Care about operational excellence. Something you obviously care a lot about, but

you know, what's sort of your pitch to say, hey, this is why this matters?

Pomi Tefera (41:16.747)


Pomi Tefera (41:22.082)

That's a hard question.

Pomi Tefera (41:31.374)

How do I make some care?

Pomi Tefera (41:36.047)

I think... Ops.

Pomi Tefera (41:40.966)

Ops answers the question, what has to be true for this to scale? And The CEO at any company has, hopefully, is the person who has the vision of what they want to do today, but hopefully also what they're excited about doing to take this to the next level, into the moon and beyond, right? And Ops is that right hand that helps them disambiguate.

the things that have to be true for something to scale. And so Ops needs like they're oftentimes doing that tough stuff in the trenches right, but that stuff in the trenches is what explains the human why, it's what answers the question of what does this cool, sexy idea that you have for the future need proven to scale? and helps kind of measure

that kind of the go to market, right? Whether it's internal or externally for things to get there.

Ken Babcock (42:44.135)

Yeah. And going from today to tomorrow, whenever that tomorrow is, I mean, literally tomorrow, you know, there are all these checkpoints along the way. What have we made? What have we learned? How do we adapt based on what we've learned? You know, how do we ingest sort of the quantitative and qualitative feedback? And those are all things that are owned by like a thriving operations organization. So you're almost saying like.

Pomi Tefera (42:54.178)


Ken Babcock (43:13.815)

Ops is the reality check in some ways. Not saying that they can't be optimistic too, but it is the reality check. Is that fair to say?

Pomi Tefera (43:21.77)

Yeah, it's a hundred percent is the reality check, but that also goes hand in hand with the some of sometimes the greatest ideas, the like the lowest hanging fruit to unlock something comes because you're intimately aware of the details. So it's both a reality check and a window into the problems or opportunities. And this is something that I really appreciated about working in product ops specifically.

is you're not necessarily the decision-maker in product or ops with you, you're at the intersection of the two. And your role is influencing decisions. And you know, when your product ops, or even just ops in general, working with an engineer for example, they own the elegant solutions, right? But you're equipped to ask, to help tell the story of what is the problem or opportunity so that they can help craft the elegant solutions.

And the same thing with working with marketing, right? Like my team gets to interact with our members every single day. And our marketing team who owns the support and education that they receive from us, our brand voice, right? Before we get to talk to them in person, needs to understand what are the problems or opportunities that our members have, whether your customer service in ops or like ops or product ops, you get to be in that position of

crafting the story so that other people who are on your team, you know, marketing engineer, can own those elegant solutions.

Ken Babcock (44:59.071)

Yeah, that's, that's great. We're all just trying to make the best decision given the information that we have, which is absolutely something I'm taking away from this conversation. So Pomi, thank you so much for, for joining us on the podcast. Uh, it was a great excuse for me to reconnect with you and, and learn a little bit more about what you're doing. So I'm sure the audience is going to love it. Uh, and thanks for, thanks for spending some time with us.

Pomi Tefera (45:25.826)

Thanks Ken, this was fun. It was great to catch up.

Ken Babcock (45:29.726)


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